This blog is about the 'Workflow: The Ultimate Springboard for Intelligent Automation' video, presented by Daniel Dam from Mendix. You can watch the video here.
But before we take a closer look at this new language, let’s explore how it originated.
Bridging the gap between business and IT
Mendix has always been about bridging the gap between business and IT. Around 2005, the founders realized that both sides of the app development process were speaking a different language. In order to bridge this gap, they created a common language we now know as Mendix.
Mendix’s original image from 2005, explaining how model-driven app development bridges the gap between business and IT
This new common language made it much easier for developers to involve the business in the development process. Developers were no longer writing code that couldn’t be read by somebody from the business side who didn’t have a background in writing code. Instead, their work became interpretable through visual and model-driven development. At the same time, developers were able to develop and deploy more rapidly. All of this allowed the business to provide feedback early on in the process, when adjustments could still be made. As a result, developers gained a deeper understanding of the business process and what needed to be built throughout the building process.
A new visual language
However, there was still part of the gap that wasn’t being bridged by this new common language. With Mendix, developers were able to speak in a common language with the business regarding the individual parts of the business process (data, logic, UI, and security). But the overall business process wasn’t covered by the Mendix platform. That’s all changing with the introduction of a new additional visual language called Mendix Workflow.
With Workflow, Mendix didn’t just introduce a new common language. They empowered the business by giving them more ownership and control over their role as citizen developer. Because with Workflow, they are now equipped to build process solutions, digitize processes, and drive intelligent business automation.
How does it work?
We know that Mendix is all about ease of use, and you should be able to deploy your new app with just a few clicks. Of course this also applies to Workflows. When you create a new workflow, you can either start from scratch or use a template that you can then modify to suit your process. Mendix has already created a number of templates for you to choose from and more are available in the Marketplace (previously known as the Mendix App Store).
You can then edit your Workflow in either Mendix Studio (if you are a citizen developer) or Mendix Studio Pro (if you are a low-code developer).
Workflow in Mendix Studio
A Workflow can consist of User Tasks that are linked to roles (e.g. hand out laptop to new employee or order new lease car) and System Tasks (e.g. send e-mail or message, call other Workflows or Microflows). All of the tasks can be modified with just a few clicks. You can make Workflows smart by adding logic with Microflows, for example to calculate decisions.
Workflow in Mendix Studio Pro
You have the ability to trigger other Workflows from within your Workflow. To help the end-user oversee all of their tasks in different Workflows, Mendix added the Tasks Overview that you can optionally integrate to any app. This will give the user a drop-down menu in the top right corner, which they can use to directly navigate to tasks or perform task actions with a simple click from the overview.
Every Workflow has a Workflow Admin Center with a Workflow Dashboard. As a Workflow owner, you want to have insight in its performance, which is exactly what the dashboard can provide.
On the dashboard, you can see all the metrics at either Workflow or task level and type, for example, to see which tasks are delaying your process.
And of course, the newly unveiled Mendix Data Hub is also available in Mendix Workflow to maintain governance and reuse data across apps and workflows.
I encourage you to watch Daniel Dam’s presentation from Mendix World 2020 for a demo of this cool new language, to see how it empowers citizen developers and closes the gap between business and IT.